The Oregonian: Nearly 3 in 4 Portlanders stopped by Portland police last year say they were treated fairly, PSU study finds
Author: Betsy Hammond
Posted: April 21, 2014

Read the original article in The Oregonian here.

A mail survey of more than 1,200 Portland residents finds that nearly one-fifth of city residents were stopped or cited by a member of the city's police force last year -- and nearly 75 percent say they were treated fairly.

Women, college-educated people and whites were most likely to report they were treated fairly when stopped, cited or arrested, according to the study, done by Portland State University's Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute. About 77 percent to 82 percent of Portland residents in those groups who were stopped said the police treated them well.

Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos and men were most likely to report being treated unfairly by the officers who stopped or arrested them, the study found. About 40 percent of Portland residents in those groups who were stopped by police reported unfair treatment.

Authors of the study said the overall percentage of people reporting that police officers who stopped or cited them treated them fairly "reflects positively on the officers as a group," particularly since "many of these interactions likely resulted in some type of aversive sanction for the citizen involved."

The study was commissioned by the Portland Police Bureau as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which found that the department used unnecessary or excessive force against people having mental health crises. It mandated a survey of Portland residents as one of a number of steps to improve police relationships with the community.

The survey project was headed by Brian Renauer, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice. His team sent more than 4,400 surveys to randomly selected Portland households in July 2013, including an oversampling in neighborhoods with concentrated populations of African Americans and Latinos. Slightly more than 25 percent of survey recipients responded.

Survey results said that about one-third of Portland residents said they contacted the police for help last year. Almost 90 percent of them said they were treated fairly.

Survey participants overall expressed positive or neutral views of Portland police officers. But 40 percent of respondents, and a significant share of those in every category, including white people, men and those over age 45, said they think Portland police use race and ethnicity when deciding whom to stop.